Bag of Tricks: The Murder of Roland Kuster
Justice at Last
On May 21, 1998, a murder charge was filed against Minor. It was a year since Kuster had been killed. Minor decided to represent himself during the trial.
"Often times when defendants represent themselves they have a tendency to bring in information in front of the jury that they're really not allowed to do, but before a judge can stop them they're doing things like testifying when they're asking questions," said Craig Hum, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case. "But the DNA evidence and the documents found at the scene with defendant Minor's name on them were very strong evidence to show he was the one who committed the crime."
It was Hum's contention that Minor was a transient, just out of prison and carrying all his belongings in a backpack. He broke into Kuster's home intending to steal something. Kuster surprised him and a struggle occurred. In the frenzy, he forgot the backpack.
"The fact that the defendant's blood was there was something that he could not possibly explain away," Hum said.
And the jury agreed. In less than a day, they returned a guilty verdict. Minor was also convicted of attempted robbery and the special circumstance of burglary. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Kuster's remains were cremated and the urn was returned to his mother in Switzerland.